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5 min read

Have you ever considered the role of freshwater in your beauty products?

Next time you're strolling through the beauty aisle at the supermarket, take a look at how many products list “water” or “aqua” as the first ingredient. Thousands and thousands of products, all containing you guessed it… plain old water! 

In fact, you might be surprised to learn that most of your average beauty products will contain 75% water (some can contain up to 95%!), leaving just 25% of the product made up of “actives”... you know the skin-beneficial ingredients you actually want and are supposedly paying for!

See below, I grabbed a handful of products off the shelf last time I visited the store, I didn't have to look very far, in fact every single on I picked up listed water as the main ingredient: 

One of the major reasons why beauty brands love to sell you fancy bottles of water is because it's a dirt cheap filler. They just have to highlight a few key ingredients on the front of the package and you're SOLD with that attractive price point!

So now that they've managed to cram that bottle filled with as much water as possible, they're also going to need to stabilise that water too. Because where there's water, there's also a breeding ground for bacteria! Any water based product inherently has a shorter shelf life and needs a shit tonne of preserving (agghh), and this means a whole bunch of chemical preservatives and stabilizers which can be potential irritants and carcinogens.

So to sum it all up - you’re purchasing a diluted, polluted, overpriced product that's potentially gonna cause you some nasty irritations in an over packaged plastic bottle… meh!

Thankfully, anhydrous beauty products are gaining popularity as more consumers look to remove water-based products from their skincare routine. Today I look at a few arguments for why you might want to jump on this trending bandwagon, what we as a company are doing and how going waterless can actually save your face and the environment too!

Water, a precious resource.

For many years now, consumers have demanded more eco-friendly beauty solutions with many big name brands answering those cries with the release of more sustainable options, from the packaging used to better-for-the-environment ingredients. It’s kinda the unsaid thing now, people just expect any emerging brand to have some sort of environmentally friendly stance.

Despite the cries from eco-conscious consumers, beauty brands are still pumping out products that can contain up to 80 to 95% water, a precious resource that is a huge part of the sustainability conversation! Why? 

I do believe that many consumers, especially in my water-rich home country of New Zealand, haven’t quite fully grasped the concept of global freshwater shortages.

I discovered recently that here where I am currently living - Perth, Western Australia we’ve seen a 20% decline in annual rainfall in the last 50 years; this reduction in surface water has greatly affected groundwater recharge, which in turn has led to long-term drying effects in some areas. 

From a worldwide perspective - by 2050, at least 1 in 4 people will likely live in a country affected by chronic or recurring fresh-water shortages.

Today, some 1.1 billion people lack access to water, and 2.7 billion people have at least one water scare a month. There are many factors that play into this - from population growth and agriculture to, of course, climate change.

As well as the impact water in beauty products has on the environment, I also want to address the effects that water can have on your skin, why anhydrous are more potent, higher in quality and just better for you!

What are the benefits of waterless skincare products?

When I set out to create my own range of clay face masks for Green + Bare, I considered all the pros and cons of wet vs dry clay face masks. And at the end of the day I felt that a dry product would benefit my customers and the earth 100% more. Here, let me explain:⁠⠀
  • No water means you get to activate the product just before use so the product is always fresh and potent. It also gives you the freedom to be able to customise the product to your own preferences.
  • Waterless products are more stabilized and don’t contain preservatives.⁠⠀
  • Any product that contains water can’t be claimed as 100% organic as water cannot be organically certified.
  • Waterless products are rich in concentrated ingredients making them a higher-value product - meaning better, faster results and more bang for your buck.⁠⠀⠀

As you can see from the above, if we went down the same path as some of our competitors and added water to create a ready-made clay mask, we would be diluting all the skin-loving actives found in our natural ingredients. In turn the overall product wouldn't be as concentrated, and our customers wouldn't see the same results or benefits (we wouldn’t want that now would we!). 

clay face mask powder in bowl in bathroom

Being more water-conscious in your beauty routine.

Something I am always challenging myself with is simplifying my skincare routine so that I use fewer products overall. Fewer products means less waste, so the less I can get away with the better!

I tend to use products that do more than one job. Take for example our Plant Oils, anoh so versatile ingredientthat can be utilized for so many purposes. From an oil cleanser, to a facial oil or use it as a carrier oil for your essential oil blends. When it comes to water and beauty, less is indeed more.

In saying all this - water still has its place in beauty.

Our skin is both hydrophilic and lipophilic after-all, so it’s not necessary to eliminate water from our routines entirely, but it is important that we be more mindful about how we incorporate it - and the effects it can have on our skin and the environment. 

Save your water-based skincare for treatments that use hydrophilic ingredients like water-soluble Vitamin C. Or a product that does more than one job, like Floral Waters - it’s a go-to product you can use in your Clay Face Masks, as a toner and hair mist. That way you’re not buying or creating a lot of waste with multiple product variants.

Our promise to you

Waterless formulation will continue to be a sustainable choice for myself personally, and for Green + Bare, one that supports the greatest environmental preservation. 

Here at Green + Bare we only create intentionally targeted products with minimal ingredients that don’t skimp on the good stuff. That means we’ve stripped away all the fillers and unnecessary crap, like artificial colours, fragrances, preservatives, silicones, parabens, and fillers. All you’ll find here are raw, highly concentrated ingredients – not just watered down stuff in super small percentages.

Our products are unique. We don’t want you to slap unnecessary additives on your skin. We’d really rather you mix up your products when you need them so you can avoid all those nasties piling up on your face day in and day out. 

I so need to make the change! Where do I start? 

We’re challenging our readers to make the swap to anhydrous skincare - beauty of the future!
Why not give us a whirl so you can truly feel the difference of a highly concentrated skincare solution! We suggest you start with our Clay Mask Sampler Pack grab this mini bundle, try them all and find your prefect match!



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